UPDATE: Businesses Gear Up for Re-opening, Expanded Capacity

Some downtown Santa Barbara businesses say they are poised to re-open or expand capacity this week in the wake of the county Public Health Department’s Sept. 29 order to allow them to do so with modifications and limits. 

However, at the last minute, county officials told bars and breweries they could not have indoor service even though they serve food as well as drinks.

Under the county’s initial order this week, restaurants and movie theaters are allowed re-open indoors at 25 percent capacity or up to 100 people. 

On Wednesday afternoon, some breweries such as M. Special on State Street near Ortega Street was serving patrons indoors and outdoors. Meanwhile, Night Lizard brewery, 609 State St., set up indoor tables, but put them up when county officials told them they weren’t allowed to serve indoors.

Night Lizard was opened for indoor service the next day.

Retail businesses were supposed to be able open at half capacity. Gyms can open at 10 percent capacity, while museums, zoos and aquariums can open at 25 percent capacity. 

A baker’s dozen of business people discussed the current situation during a Sept. 30 online networking meeting that the Downtown Santa Barbara organization organized. 

Downtown Santa Barbara Interim Executive Director Robin Elander announced an upcoming local artisans retail market starting on the 900 block of State Street. It will be open from 3 to 7:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 5 with products displayed at booths and tables, she said. 

Meanwhile, workzones co-founder Pam Tanese said her company’s co-working spaces will reopen Oct. 1 with discounted offices at its Paseo Nuevo venue. The co-working spaces have been closed since July. 

Visit Santa Barbara Publications Director Karna Hughes said her tourist agency is working to try to bring back visitors to the South Coast. She pointed to recent newspaper and magazine articles urging tourists to take a Santa Barbara road trip. 

Elander said her agency plans to have more virtual networking events every two weeks. 

She also reminded participants that Santa Barbara Downtown is a Business Improvement District, which stretches from Micheltorena Street south to Gutierrez Street. New businesses may join for a small fee. Proceeds are to keep downtown sidewalks and other areas clean. 

Elender also said her agency will start putting up holiday twinkle lights and shooting starts during the first week of November.  

Posted Sept. 30, 2020.

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